Blackout poetry might be an unfamiliar writing form to you, but Instagram Poet, John Carroll is making this style of poetry more accessible to readers online. With the release of Carroll’s new blackout poetry book, Hidden Messages Of Hope, and poetics on social media, he’s revealing a new slice of life that is changing lives.
Finding love, hope, and creativity organically anymore can be almost impossible. This world has become so muddled and divided that you have to be the source of your own love and creativity; you have to show that there can be hope in today’s world because YOU are making it happen.
This sounds like an easy concept, but still, so many people are afraid to take that first step; to be the one that can share their love and light with the whole world and make a real impact.
But not everyone is like that. Some people want to be the leaders that bring communities together and prove that there IS still love in this world, even when it feels like there isn’t.
One of these people is John Carroll. John Carroll is currently living — and always has lived — in the South.
He resides in Atlanta, where he says he might just never leave — thanks to the booming art scene and a solid community that surrounds him; in other words, a perfect setting for a writer. This writer.
John began writing 15 years ago. When he first started at age 21, he jumped around from memoir-style blog posts to short stories to journalism before settling on poetry.
But not just any poetry — that’s not John’s style. And when you live in an area that does all it can to bring out the most creativity in you, you can’t be “just” anything or anyone; you have to carve your own path in life.
John’s biggest challenge is something that all writers fear at least once in their career: having someone read your work. I know I feel the same way and I know for a fact that others do, too.
There’s just something so naked and revealing about finally letting another set of eyes criticize your work that can make even the most seasoned writer want to lock their writing away forever.
But letting yourself be exposed through your work can actually be liberating. John realized early in his writing career that to get your work published, you can go one of two ways.
You can either give someone the power to make or break your writing career by putting them in charge of your path, or you can do your own thing and share your writing on your own terms.
And that is exactly what he did. When you visit John’s Instagram page, your eye jumps all over the page. Where to start? So many colors, words, feelings — all captured in perfect, black boxes.
Blackout poetry has been around for some time, but what’s so beautiful about it is that there are so many different ways to do it, so many different emotions to provoke, that every representation is like seeing poetry for the first time.
Blackout poetry first started as a simple writing exercise that turned into something so much more. John found the combination of simplicity and complexity so intriguing and interesting that he ended up focusing on blackout poetry entirely.
As a self-described prose writer — not so much a poet, per se – John is particularly attached to blackout poetry because it fuses art and writing together. When you see the poems he shares on Instagram, they really are like works of art — definitely not just words strung together.
More than that, they’re works of art that are sweet, romantic, inspiring, and beautiful all in one. Which are all powerful and important emotions to evoke change in someone’s life, as it means John’ doing the job he set out to do.
Love, simply love, has been John’s biggest muse because it’s a concept that translates into any language and is attainable for everyone, but he also enjoys writing about other universal truths like life, hope, and creativity — often weaving them all together in his poetry.
John’s purpose is to spread love and hope to the world with his poetry. There is so much negativity in the world today that he wants to inspire people to find a deeper truth and know that they’re not alone, no matter who they are or what they’re going through in life.
His Instagram page is now a community of inspiration, with people making and sharing their own blackout poetry using #makeblackoutpoetry, which is enthusiastically shared on his account.
You can find John Carroll’s poetry on his make blackout poetry website, on his Instagram page, and in his book.
“You have to realize that you, in fact, shine.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“I will be magical. I will live for love and light.” — @creative.destruction.poetry
“You are here to grow beyond limitations.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Nothing can change until we do.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“On the journey in life: Compassionate deeds are like fuel for the soul.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“The future will take care of the future. Realize the present. Simply enjoy life right now.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“I have discovered that love is the lesson to be learned.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“You don’t find love, my dear, love finds you.” — @mansitailor
“Expand your life. Create more.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Never apologize for manifesting your dreams.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Love is the ultimate triumph.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“I need to be fighting for myself.” — @shanikapowell
“Love, even in the face of hate, will give meaning and purpose to our lives.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Forgiveness is not passive, it is to move a mountain within the mind.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Your life is worth it. You are a miracle, written in the stars.” — @brokenbeautifulsound
“Love and forgiveness change the world.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“I made use of the difficulties to be a success.” — @sayitwhispering
“Live beyond the way you are.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“You are anything but meaningless.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“An ‘aha’: Life is about finding light.” — @jenuineartworks
“Manifest change in your life.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Create positive influence to change things.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“Love would show the way.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“You have to clean out your heart like it’s spring cleaning.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
“To love is to surrender to the Universe.” — #makeblackoutpoetry
Emily Ratay is a full-time writer living in Pittsburgh. She’s passionate about the environment and feminism, and knows that anything is possible in the right pair of shoes. She plans on writing a book in the future.